Meghan Markle‘s father could testify against his daughter in a London courtroom.
Thomas Markle, 75, is mentioned heavily in legal papers filed by Associated Newspapers — publisher of the Mail on Sunday — at the High Court in London on Tuesday, suggesting he may be called as a witness.
The newspaper group filed the papers as part of its defense case against Meghan, 38, who is suing the Mail on Sunday for publishing extracts of a “private and confidential” letter to her dad in August 2018 — three months after her wedding to Prince Harry.
The Duchess of Sussex is seeking damages from the Mail on Sunday’s publisher, Associated Newspapers Ltd., for “alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement, and breach of the Data Protection Act.”
The Mail on Sunday and parent company Associated Newspapers argue that there is “huge and legitimate” public interest in members of the royal family and their “personal relationships,” according to the papers.
“There is a huge and legitimate public interest in the royal family and the activities, conduct and standards of behavior of its members,” the filing said. “This extends not merely to their public conduct, but to their personal and family relationships because those are integral to the proper functioning of the monarchy.”
A letter Meghan wrote to her father was referenced in a February 2019 PEOPLE cover story, which the court documents cite. In the cover story, five women who form an essential part of Meghan’s inner circle say they spoke with PEOPLE to “stand up against the global bullying we are seeing and speak the truth about our friend,” as one longtime friend put it last February.
The court papers filed by Associated Newspapers argue that the newspaper’s publication of excerpts from the letter was in “response” to the PEOPLE story in order to report Thomas Markle’s perspective.
In the course of describing Thomas Markle’s alleged version of events, the new court filings reveal previously unpublished text messages sent between him and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex ahead of the 2018 royal wedding.
In the week before the May 19 wedding, Thomas decided not to attend after an arrangement with paparazzi to stage several photoshoots of him ahead of the big day was revealed.
In October, Harry took a public stand against the “ruthless” treatment he says his wife has received in the British tabloid press.
“Unfortunately, my wife has become one of the latest victims of a British tabloid press that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences — a ruthless campaign that has escalated over the past year, throughout her pregnancy and while raising our newborn son,” he said.